Glad I found a good reason (as if I need one!haha) to visit again the place hailed as the Eighth Wonder of the World - the Banaue Rice Terraces.
I am into couch surfing and my first guest Nabil Mekouar (a Morrocan) from France included Banaue Rice Terraces in his itinerary for his two-week Philippine visit from September 12- 25, 2009. Since I haven't gone to Banaue for a long time now, the last was in 2001, I decided I would go with him there. My mission mate Darin who has just arrived in the Philippines a week earlier (for an internship with the WHO) at the last minute decided to go with us. Wow! The trip couldn't be better! To me, it is an "ultimate adventure of three friends from three different continents - Africa, America and Asia".
We opted to take the Manila-Banaue-Bontoc-Sagada-Baguio-Manila route, since Nabil really likes to see Sagada and Baguio aside from Banaue. The entire trip will be for three days from September 15-18,2009 as we will go down to the Bicol Region early morning of the 19th.
From Manila, we took the Florida Bus that left at 10:45pm. There was an accident on the road so instead of the nine (9) hour bus ride, it became 14 hours. Pressed for time we hired a van for 3 thousand inclusive of the sightseeing tour of Banaue and Bontoc all the way to Sagada.
The Banaue Rice Terraces are 2000-year old terraces that are part of the Rice Terraces of the Philippine Cordilleras.The 4 other similar terraces are the Batad rice terraces, Mayoyao rice terraces, Hapao rice terraces and Kiangan rice terraces in the provinces of Kalinga, Apayao, Benguet, Mountain Province and Ifugao, and are considered UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Banaue Viewpoint Terraces
This is a perfect spot on top of a plateau for taking pictures of the rice terraces. We were told and we confirmed that the site is the same picture that is on the P1000 bill.